500 Server Error When Running PHP Script

My hosting company upgraded its PHP version over the weekend and I awoke Monday morning to none of my 404 error redirects working. I've changed around my site a few times in the last15 years that I have owned PCHell.com and I use a PHP redirect script to redirect customers from old or bad URLs to the current good URLs. It works better than any custom 404 error page because the visitor never knows they typed in a bad URL, they just are redirected automatically to the appropriate page. In conjunction with the .htaceess file its simple and wonderfully effective for lowering bounce rates and fixing 404 issues.


Suddenly though none of the redirects were working properly and the php script was giving me the following error when it was accessed.

Internal Server Error

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Contacting my host offered no help. They looked through the error logs and pointed me toward issues in the script itself. They found an error about a malformed header with this error

malformed header from script. Bad header=

and refused to look any further into the issue assuming it was a problem with a php script that had not changed in 5 years.


I knew it had something to do with the version of PHP that was running on my host. So I created a test.php file that contained the following line

<?php phpinfo(); ?>

This line should spit back the PHP version information, however when I ran it I was greeted with another 500 Server error. This proved that the problem lied with the version of PHP on the system and not with the php script itself.

Solution


It turns out that in the directory where the php file existed, there was a php.ini file that had the following information

register_globals = on

Unfortunately, This feature has been DEPRECATED as of PHP 5.3.0 and REMOVED as of PHP 5.4.0.

I deleted the php.ini file in the associated directory and checked my 404 handler. Everything returned to functioning normally.


Written by Mark Hasting





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